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The following career advice is what I believe to be the top eight things recent college graduates should know before joining the workforce. I am sure there are additional tips you can bring into the workforce but these are a great start to ensure you begin on the right foot.


1. Get Better At Time Management

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Time is finite. Once it is gone you cannot get it back. Once a deadline is missed there is no turning back. If you missed an assignment, you risk a lower grade. But in the working world, it can mean losing a job project and the company having to incur financial losses. Learn time management skills and you end up being more productive, effective, and efficient.

2. Do More, Talk Less

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It’s far too easy to be convinced by those who say you can talk to impress people. And I do not deny that, but eventually, your work has to be the proof that you are a good worker and you are dependable. You need to decide if you will do more and talk less or do less and talk more.

3. Be Present

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Being present means two things to me. Firstly, it means to be on time every time. This ranges from a small internal meeting to meeting your deadlines. It means being there when you are needed. Golden opportunities present themselves when you are present. Secondly, being present means focusing on the work that needs to be completed. It also means being mindful and fully aware of your surroundings.

4. Give Your Work A Routine

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Develop some form of routine and be disciplined to stick to that routine. This is related to time management but goes beyond the time management that you do in the office. Have a routine for your life. Give yourself time. Block off time for yourself to read or even do the chores like laundry, etc. Start to be more organized than you were in college. Stick to this career advice even though it does not relate to career building. You will soon see the wisdom of it.

5. Be Nice

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Learn to be authentic and avoid politics. Of course, sometimes it is tough not to get involved at all. But you can learn to avoid it and be real and authentic. Stay true to your values. These are the anchors that hold you when people change and agendas change. Be nice to people regardless of rank and designation. Smile often. Say “please” and “thank you.”

6. Compete With Yourself

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Compete with no one else. Of course, no matter what is said and done, you will always be peeping at the next guy to see how he is doing in his career. Sure, peep. But don’t be overly affected by competition that you forget to look at yourself. Be the best you can be in this long cross-country marathon; it is filled with detours and stops. When you focus too much on your competitors you may get lost. It’s one of those career tips for recent college graduates you need to experience to know what it truly means.

7. Create, Don't Just Discover

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Life is as much about creating as it is discovering. I hear far too often recent college graduates saying, “I need to discover myself.” But is life all about discovering yourself? It is and it is also not. Life is as much as creating the "you" you want to be as it is in discovering the "you" that you are. The truth is somewhere in between. So, when you get a job that is less than satisfactory for you, use it as a pedagogue to discover yourself. More importantly, use it to give you hints at creating the self you want to be.

8. Realize There Is Fun In Learning

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There is a lot of fun in learning. If you understand being present in my earlier advice, then you will know work-life presents so much you can learn and be paid for it. Learn to love what you do and learn to love learning. Because the chance to do what you love may be far and in between. When you find fun in learning then you will be constantly improving yourself. Learn to love books and all sorts of books. There is no need to stick to books in your own industry.

These are the eight things I consider solid career advice for any recent college graduate. A new phase of life has just begun. It’s a long road of work from now on. There is no need to rush your career progression. Take time and enjoy life while honing your skills as you move along.

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.


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